Guest blogging came into prominence as a key marketing strategy many years ago due to its ability to generate traffic, exposure, and backlinks all at the same time. Recently, however, many people have reported guest blogging to be much less effective than it used to be for building referral traffic and conversions.
When I started guest blogging around five years back, a bio link in a guest post on a top blog almost always guaranteed at least a few hundred visitors; this is no longer the case, and you’d be lucky to get 20 visitors from bio links in guest posts on the very same blogs.
So, Is Guest Blogging for Direct Traffic & Conversions Dead?
No, guest blogging is still very much alive, but if your primary goal is to generate direct traffic and conversions the rules of the game have changed.
Just as people developed banner blindness in the early days of the Web, guest posts are now so common that readers have developed a blindness to links in posts, especially in the bio section. As a result, it’s difficult to make guest blogging profitable when it comes to conversion. If your goal is specifically to gain link equity, then this is less of an issue for you.
In this article, I’ll share how I have been able to still make guest blogging work well for me.
Some Conversion Results From My Guest Blogging Efforts
Below are some results I’ve gotten through guest blogging.
800+ visitors and 300+ subscribers in two weeks from a recent guest post on JeffBullas.com (published on July 29, 2015).
The above screenshot shows traffic from a recent guest post on JeffBullas.com; the screenshot shows direct referral traffic from the domain name in less than two weeks of my guest post going live (795 visitors).
Traffic from this guest post is well over 1,000 visitors when I consider traffic from email and RSS readers of the blog. This guest post alone has resulted in over 300 subscribers to my email list in just two weeks.
This happened in 2015, when people are hardly expecting this kind of direct result from guest blogging.
250+ visitors and 100+ subscribers in one month from a recent guest post on BloggingTips.com (published on July 8, 2015).
The above screenshot shows similar results from a guest post on BloggingTips.com in July, resulting in 240+ visitors directly (and at least a total of 300+ visitors total) within a month of my guest post going live. This particular guest post has been responsible for at least 100+ new email subscribers as well.
How to Guest Blog for Conversions
While just sticking a link in your guest blog bio and in the content used to be a fruitful way to earn visitors and subscribers, that’s no longer the case. To overcome the increased link blindness of readers, here are some tips that have yielded massive conversions for me.
Target the Right Blogs
Targeting the right blogs is a step that you can’t skip, as far as guest blogging for conversions is concerned.
Based on years of experience guest blogging, when it comes to conversions, I’ve had individual guest posts on some blogs beat 20 guest posts on 20 different blogs, combined. This underscores the importance of finding the right blogs for your guest posts.
Here are some principles to ensure you are targeting the right blogs:
- Make sure the blog is highly authoritative; ideally, you want to target top blogs in your industry that get lots of comments and shares. Both example guest posts I shared above got over 300 shares; this is typical with articles published on these blogs.
- Try to determine how much traffic and subscribers a blog has before you ask to submit a guest post; ideally, you want to target blogs that get over 100,000 visitors or more.
- Ensure you have flexibility with referencing yourself in your guest post; you don’t want to be spammy, but the blog should allow you to link back to a resource on your blog if it is relevant and highly valuable. If a blog says “we’ll only give you one nofollow link in the article bio and that’s final,” then it will probably yield little results.
Focus on the Best Content Format for Guest Posts
To get good traffic and conversions from your guest posts, it is important to focus on the right content types.
You can focus on these content types:
- Case studies. Blogs love case studies, and a case study testifies to the efficacy of what you teach. This will make readers of your guest post more interested in your advice and visiting your website.
- Success stories. People love success stories, and since a success story is about what you were able to achieve, readers will develop an interest in you before they finish reading it; this will make them more likely to visit your website and sign up.
In my experience, success stories always result in the most traffic and subscribers from a guest post.
- Resources. Resources posts are usually big hits, and the fact they usually get 10 or 20 times more traffic than the average blog post will work in your favor.
Creating the three types of content listed above will usually result in the most traffic to your blog; what’s most important, though, is conversions and I’ll share some tips on how to maximize conversions below.
How to Maximize Conversions From Your Guest Posts
It’s not enough just to target the right blogs and adjust how you format your content, but you also need to offer a convincing enough reason for visitors to convert once on your site.
Don’t send people to your homepage. The fastest way to kill the benefits you can get from a major guest post on a top publication is to link to your homepage, or to your blog page.
The average homepage conversion rate is much less than 2 percent, but a decent conversion rate from a landing page can be as high as 70 percent; pulling off a 50 to 60 percent conversion rate shouldn’t be too difficult if you have the right offer.
Create an offer that is related to your guest post, create a landing page for it and tell people to visit your landing page instead of telling them to visit your homepage or blog page.
You can further increase conversions by personalizing your landing page to the blog your guest post was published on; this way, visitors know the offer is specially made for people who came from that blog.
Link to resources on your website inside your guest post. From my experience, people rarely click links in the author bio of guest posts anymore.
The key to maximizing conversions lies in linking to special resources that lead to a conversion goal inside your guest post.
It is important that your resources complement the tips you gave in your guest post, and that you use a clear CTA to get people to click it.
Offer a content upgrade with your guest post. Content upgrades can be very powerful for building your email list, and a recent article here goes into details on how to use them.
You can also leverage content upgrades inside your guest posts. This was what I did with my guest post on JeffBullas.com that resulted in over 300 subscribers in two weeks; I simply asked readers to download a bigger version of the list in my guest post.
Your content upgrade could be a more comprehensive version of your guest post, an in-depth case study, or a resource that complements your guest post. It is essential that your content upgrade is related to your guest post.
Bryan Harris reports getting more than 500 subscribers from every guest post he writes by offering content upgrades with his guest posts.
Although guest blogging is no longer as effective as it once was, it is still very powerful if done the right way. Hopefully, you are able to get more conversions from your guest posts with the tips in this article.